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Redwood City Schools’ Citizens Committee to be Appointed

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This week Redwood City School District trustees will appoint members of a community committee to make recommendations on the use of four closing school campuses and district headquarters on Bradford Street.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Taft School, 903 Tenth Ave.

The district will close the properties in June to help meet a budget shortfall caused by declining enrollment but keep them for rental income.

The four schools are Orion, 815 Allerton St. near downtown; Fair Oaks, 2950 Fair Oaks Ave.; Hawes, 909 Roosevelt Ave. at Hudson Street; and Adelante, 3150 Granger Way west of Alameda and Fernside. The board also voted to move district headquarters, 750 Bradford St. downtown, to a school site and to rent the headquarters. The timetable for that move is indefinite.

Trustees Alisa MacAvoy and Cecilia Marquez and Supt. John Baker reviewed 26 citizen applications and are recommending 11: Christina Umhofer, David E. Weekly, Alyson K Blume, Amy Newby, Gracie Centeno, Jessica Alba, Jenna Wachtel Pronovost, Victor M. Hernández, Chris Rasmussen, Rosario González, and Susie Peyton.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda are two items involving charter schools: a contract renewal hearing for Rocketship, currently housed on the Kennedy Middle School campus, and approval of renewing the contract with Kipp, currently split between  Hoover and Taft.

The district is in preliminary negotiations to move Rocketship to Orion and Kipp to Fair Oaks, which it would share with Connect, the district’s third charter school.

Come have Coffee with the Cops this morning

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Coffee with the Cops is happening this morning from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. This event is put on by Redwood City so our community and police officers can meet informally to discuss whatever comes to mind.

It offers residents the chance to discuss concerns, obtain resources, gain assistance with signing up for our social media platforms, and to simply get to know each other better.

Today’s Coffee with the Cops is being held at the McDonald’s at 185 Chesnut St Redwood City, California 94061  stop by from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The next Coffee with Cops will be held on Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m.

San Mateo restaurant owner apologizes for MAGA hat Tweet

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A San Mateo restaurant owner has apologized over a controversial Tweet stating he would refuse service to any patron wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, popularized by President Donald Trump.

In a statement on, J. Kenji López-Alt of Wursthall Restaurant expressed regret to his staff and partners for not consulting them before making the public statement that drew mixed reaction from community members.

He added that Wursthall “will continue, as it always has, to serve all customer regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual preference, gender orientation, disability, or political opinion — so long as they leave hate, anger, and violence outside of the doors of our restaurant.”

López-Alt said his did not intend for his Tweet to be viewed as intolerance for certain political viewpoints.

López-Alt’s controversial Tweet was posted Sunday and stated: “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate.”

In another Tweet, López-Alt added, “MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”

López-Alt said some people misunderstood the context behind his Tweet.

“After having seen the red hat displayed so prominently in so many moments of anger, hate, and violence, to me — and many others — the hat began to symbolize exactly that: anger, hate, and violence,” he said. “This was the context my tweet was meant to communicate. Unfortunately the way I tried to communicate this ended up only amplifying the anger, and I apologize for that.”

While he said his message was “intended to reject anger, hate and violence, and indicate that these shouldn’t be welcomed in our society and aren’t welcome in our community,” he added, “I understand that many interpreted my words in a different context, and construed a message of hate directed at them. This was not my intent in any way, and I am sorry for my recklessness.”

Read his full statement here.

Video surveillance leads to credit card theft bust

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A suspect was arrested Tuesday in connection with a San Carlos car burglary after which stolen credit cards were used to make fraudulent purchases, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

Gabriel Cole Clancyclavere, 22, of San Mateo, was arrested about 3:30 p.m. at his girlfriend’s home in the 100 block of Northumberland Avenue in unincorporated Redwood City and booked on charges of grand theft, identity theft and vehicle tampering, the sheriff’s office said.

The vehicle burglary occurred Jan. 19, and investigators were able to identify Clancyclavere after video surveillance allegedly captured him using the stolen credit cards to make purchases.

After a $20,000 warrant was obtained for his arrest, he was taken into custody at his girlfriend’s house without incident and booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility.

San Mateo restaurant owner’s MAGA hat ban draws mixed reactions

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A San Mateo restaurant owner made headlines after Tweeting he will refuse to serve customers wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat, a phrase popularized by President Donald Trump.

J. Kenji López-Alt of Wursthall Restaurant stated in a since-deleted Tweet on Sunday: “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate.”

In another Tweet that remains, López-Alt added, “MAGA hats are like white hoods except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them.”

The announcement of refusal of service has drawn mixed reactions. While the Tweet had many supporters, including left-leaning Bay Area residents who indicated an enhanced desire to patronize the restaurant, others cited problems with targeting citizens over their political beliefs. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that López-Alt “acknowledged that the business has received negative, even threatening, emails since the tweet.”

Over 300 volunteers to conduct one-day homeless count Thursday

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More than 300 volunteers will canvas San Mateo County early Thursday to conduct the county’s Biennial One Day Homeless Count.

The count will be conducted from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. at locations throughout the county.

Volunteers, including public members, county staff, community-based providers and community guides will travel by foot and car to help the San Mateo County Human Services Agency collect data and conduct surveys about people experiencing homelessness. The count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and “will help the County and its partners assess how to best serve households experiencing homelessness,” according to officials.

County Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom and new County Manager Mike Callagy will join the count.

“The County and its partners are committed to helping people connect with services and moving then into housing as quickly as possible,” Groom said. “Knowing who is at risk or currently experiencing homelessness helps us better strategize solutions.”

Preliminary results are processed and analyzed then submitted to HUD, with a final report published in June.

Redwood City School District registration underway

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Registration for the 2019-20 academic school year has begun.

The deadline for Redwood City School District’s (RCSD) priority registration and school of choice application is this Friday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m.

Registration applications turned in by 2 p.m Friday, Feb. 1, are guaranteed placement at their neighborhood school, if space is available. School of choice applications will be placed in the random computerized lottery.

You can register your student online here, in person at one of the Redwood City school offices between 9am – 3pm or at the School District office at 750 Bradford St. between 9am – 4pm.

Be prepared with the following documents to register a Student:

  • Student’s birth certificate
  • Student’s immunization record
  • Parent or guardian picture ID
  • Proof of address (two different documents are needed such as: property tax bill, rent receipt or utility bill)  

Those who register for school of choice will be notified which school they will attend by the Redwood City School District based on their random lottery results on Friday, March 1 after 2 p.m. The District will also notify families if a child is placed on the waitlist.

The Redwood City School District published a short video to walk you through the registration process, click here to view the video.

Person fatally struck by Caltrain in Redwood City

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A person was fatally struck by a southbound Caltrain at the Main Street and Elm crossing in Redwood City this morning.

The victim’s identity has not been released yet, and no other injuries have been reported.

According to Caltrain officials, the incident involved southbound Train No. 134. As a result of the incident several trains are now experiencing delays, to stay up to date with the situation click here.

Sen. Jerry Hill wants PG&E to be public utility

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The bankruptcy filing by PG&E may protect the company from current and future financial demands, but it should lead to the breakup of the long-established utility, according to state Senator Jerry Hill.

Acknowledging that it goes against his own free-enterprise instincts, Hill said PG&E has proven that it cannot be a private for-profit company and has to be restructured as a public utility.

“Ideally, they should be a public utility. … Every public utility has cheaper rates, more reliability and a much safer system,” Hill said. “Since its bankruptcy in 2001, their focus has been the bottom line. That was their priority, not safety, and their culture shifted that way and stayed that way and that’s why we’re seeing the diversion of funds from maintenance and safety to profits.”

Hill made the comments on The Game, the local public affairs cable show airing now on Peninsula TV and online. The full interview with Hill can be seen here. The Game is co-hosted by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and Political Climate columnist Mark Simon.

Hill has been PG&E’s toughest watchdog ever since the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight. PG&E was found culpable in the explosion for failing to inspect and maintain its pipeline system. Hill said he keeps the names of each of the eight victims on his desk in Sacramento as a daily reminder of the need to hold PG&E accountable.

For most of its 104-year history, PG&E had a reputation as a reliable and public-minded utility, with a focus on its ratepayers and service delivery.

After the deregulation of the energy industry in 2000, corporate salaries began to soar at PG&E and the company took on “more of a Wall Street approach and less of a safety approach. … they shifted their culture, their interests and their needs to a more corporate, for-profit.”

The fear is that the bankruptcy filing will mean less support for those who were victimized by the devastating Northern California wildfires of last year, but Hill said because PG&E is a utility, any restructuring of the company has to be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission and is subject to review by the Legislature.

That is likely to mean better protections for wildfire victims who have claims for loss of life and property, Hill said.

And it is likely to mean support for splitting up PG&E and the creation of local public utilities, similar to existing entities such as Sacramento Municipal Utility District or the public utility owned and operated by the city of Palo Alto, Hill said.

San Francisco is considering taking over its portion of PG&E, as is San Jose, he said.

Contact Mark Simon at

Political Climate with Mark Simon: Peninsula Democratic Party elections expose left-wing divide

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There was good news and some not-so-good news from the Peninsula Democratic Party this past weekend.

The good news is the massive turnouts at two caucuses to elect regional representatives to the California Democratic Party. The caucuses are held in each of the state’s Assembly districts and turnout Saturday in the 22nd (represented by Kevin Mullin) and in the 24th (represented by Marc Berman) was huge with well over 600 attendees at each event.

This is a dramatic improvement over prior caucuses, where turnout was a couple of dozen or so.

Clearly, Peninsula Democrats are energized by the success of the 2018 congressional races, by the policies and conduct of the current president and by the prospect of winning the White House and the U.S. Senate in 2020.

The not-so-good news is that the party is split between self-described progressives and “establishment” Democrats, reflecting a national divide that could undermine the Democrats’ chances of winning in 2020. And, because this is the Democratic Party, there is even a split among the progressives, although it can get a little confusing because every Democrat running for these delegate slots seemed to self-describe as a progressive.

And speaking of self-description, the party doesn’t divide delegates into male and female candidates. They divide themselves “self-identified female” and “other than self-identified female.” Sometimes a thing just speaks for itself.

In the 22nd District caucus, a slate of Peninsula Progressives essentially took the lunch money of a slate backed by Mullin and state Senator Jerry Hill. The Progressive slate won 9-5 over the Mullin/Hill slate, despite the very high-profile presence of both legislators at the caucus.

Some of this is a function of fundamental politics – the Progressive slate, said to have been organized by political activist and county Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, worked harder to get more of their voters to the caucus.

Still, it’s a slap at the influence of two well-established Peninsula politicians. The Mullin/Hill slate was heavily populated by other elected officials and three of the five lost – Burlingame Councilwoman Emily Beach, Belmont Councilman Charles Stone and San Bruno Mayor Rico Medina.

In the 24th, the fight was between two Progressive slates and while they each won their share, it does not bode well for Democratic unity that the left wing of the party is competing with itself.

ANY NUMBER OF ANGRY PEOPLE: If there is a message in the defeat of an establishment slate, it might be further reflected in a 12-8 vote Friday by San Mateo County Cities Selection Committee to put Millbrae Councilwoman Gina Papan on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and oust Redwood City Councilwoman Alicia Aguirre.

One of the factors driving Papan’s victory was concern – more like anger and distrust — that the region is moving swiftly to establish housing construction quotas that are aimed, quite particularly, at San Mateo County. Papan positioned herself as someone who would be appropriately aggressive in fighting that effort, and her selection is another example of an insurgent victory over the local status quo.

AN OPEN FIELD: The 24th Assembly District caucus was a nice win for former Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, who is running for Hill’s Senate seat. She was the top vote-getter among the “self-identified female” candidates, showing she still can carry the day among Santa Clara County progressives.

Lieber was a Mountain View councilwoman before winning an Assembly seat in 2002. She ran against Hill for the open Senate seat in 2012, and he won by a 2-1 margin. But Lieber outpolled Hill by 8 points in the Santa Clara County portion of the district.

The Senate candidates will report their 2018 fundraising totals at the end of the week, and it is expected that public interest entrepreneur Josh Becker will report a total in excess of $300,000, well ahead of his three opponents – Lieber, Redwood City Councilwoman Shelly Masur and Burlingame Councilman Michael Brownrigg.

You can expect they will say it is too early to assume anyone has taken command of the race, and that is the problem for the four candidates.

Rumors are quite active that another candidate could get into the race and change everything. The names that are being offered – not by these individuals, but by those who want them to run – are Mullin, who represents half the Senate district, former Assemblyman Rich Gordon, now president and CEO of the California Forestry Association (and, by all accounts, quite happy to be out of Sacramento), and San Mateo Mayor Diane Papan.

Contact Mark Simon at

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